JOURNEY NO 35   -   30th August 1977
          Touring the Fifth Tribunal Again
          4th Visit to the Gouging Heart Prison
JiGong: There are quite a number of people who are uninterested in gainful employment for their own advancement but rather prefer to spend their time in gambling to pass their days. Originally, these people were good people but because of their bad contacts they became useless and squandered their time and property and ultimately became detestable. Of late there had been a series of thefts and robberies and swindling, all due to such bad hats requiring easy money. Gambling is a very bad habit and I would advise human beings not to indulge in this vice. Of all vices, lewdness is the most serious one because some people do not understand the meaning of shame; also, women are included in this group. Some women do not know what shame is; some stealthily leave their homes without the knowledge of their husbands in order to have sexual enjoyment. This is more or less like the sin of gambling. That is why there are now so many sinful souls in Hades. Today I will bring Yang Sheng again to visit the 16 Gouging Heart Prison. Yang Sheng, quickly get up on the lotus flower platform and we will start.
Yang Sheng: I’m safely seated, dear Master, we can start…..
JiGong: We have arrived; Yang Sheng, get down.
Yang Sheng: I have come down. Today I observe that there is a great change in the outlook of the souls here – many of them are in high spirits; why is it so?
JiGong: It is because this is the period of the festival of the Hungry Ghost when, in the human world, people pray to and offer food to the hungry ghosts in connection with the ritual of relieving souls out of purgatory; those souls who are not too sinful have the privilege of enjoying themselves by eating the various food offerings and collecting burnt paper money.
Yang Sheng: Oh! Is that so? I see that the Officer is coming to welcome us.
Officer: Welcome to both of you, JiGong and Yang Sheng. This happens to be the period of the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts; that is why you see so much activity here where the less sinful souls are allowed their annual freedom to visit the human world, so please tolerate this slight confusion.
JiGong: Please do not stand on ceremony; we have disturbed you so many times and I wish to apologize to Officer and Generals for any inconvenience caused.
Officer: We have received the Order saying that both of you are visiting us for the purpose of writing the Book, “Diyu Youji,”(Journeys to the Underworld) to educate human beings to do good deeds; this is indeed very meritorious and consequently you deserve every assistance. I would invite you to come inside to have a look.
Yang Sheng: Thank you very much. I observe that in this Prison, there are many sinful souls who are wailing loudly without stop.
JiGong: In this Gouging Heart Prison are imprisoned those souls who had committed great sins; that is why the amnesty on the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is not extended to them to visit the human world and partake of the feasts, etc.
Officer: Today I will bring out two sinful souls so that they can tell you their sinful stories themselves. Look here, sinful souls, this is JiGong Huofo and the other is a human being of Sheng Xian Tang, named Yang Sheng. They have received the Order from Yu Huang to visit Hades to collect data and stories on what goes on here in Hades for the purpose of writing the Book to urge human beings to do good deeds. I want both of you, sinful souls, to relate your stories to them and remember not to hide any important facts.
1st Soul: Alright, I will relate my story. When I was alive on Earth, I was very active in doing business, traveling very often, living mostly in hotels. In due course, I met undesirable people who introduced me to gambling. At first the gambling was just pastime but eventually I got myself deeply involved and I gambled everyday. If I did not gamble even for one day, my hands became itchy and my heart also itched, yearned to gamble. In spite of the fact that I was active in my business thereby earning good money; the gambling urge made me gamble daily and heavily until I lost a lot and was forced to borrow money from friends and business contacts throughout the land. I was deeply in debt, so much so, that I could not even give my family money for their up-keep. When I was 43 years old, one day while riding a motorbike under the influence of alcohol, I met with an accident resulting in my death. My soul was brought to Hades and then only, did I realize that my life-span had been shortened by 5 years. My earthly activities were investigated from the 1st Tribunal to the 4th Tribunal and subsequently I was transferred to the 5th Tribunal where Sen Luo Wang, on seeing me, became very angry. He sentenced me to this Gouging Heart Prison for a term of 13 years. Every day my heart is gouged out, the reason being that as my heart was very fond of gambling, it has to be treated. I wish to advise human beings not to gamble heavily because heavy gamblers who take to gambling as a means of livelihood are greatly detested here, and in the 5th Tribunal with Sen Luo Wang as Head, heavy gamblers are punished with 100 strokes on the buttocks, and then only will their sins be further investigated, the reason being that heavy gamblers sat at the gambling sessions daily until their buttocks became hardened through lack of exercise. Firstly I now feel very shameful and secondly, my back side is very painful. Aya, aya! I am feeling very sore at my back side and so I beg JiGong to kindly help me out of my present suffering.
JiGong: Those who indulge in heavy gambling have hands which “have no gratitude”; now, since your hands “have no gratitude” with what hands do you want to plead with me? It is better for you to meekly endure your present punishment and stop pleading with me to help you out.
Officer: You had better forget about pleading for mercy; it is better, in the first place, to correct or cure your gambler’s heart, then only will you be sent to the “Branding Iron Prison” to burn your sinful gambling hands. When you were alive, who told you to gamble so heavily that after death your soul will have to meet with so much suffering? You asked for it yourself, no one asked you to gamble so heavily, therefore you must face the consequences of your own actions. Second soul, come out and relate the events of your dirty life on Earth; do not miss or hide any important detail.
2nd Soul: There are so many people here; I am ashamed to speak out…By nature I was very unprincipled and even after my marriage, there was no improvement because I continued to have affairs and association with the opposite sex. In my life-time I associated with no less than 5 male friends and enjoyed their company very much, all without the knowledge of my husband. When I was 54 years old, I had a heart attack, resulting in my death. My soul was brought by the Black and White General to face the Magic Mirror which showed the very disgraceful episodes of my sinful life on Earth. I had no alternative but to admit everything and so I was sentenced to the Gouging Heart Prison for a term of 20 years, where I have to suffer daily by my heart being gouged out. I beg JiGong to intercede on my behalf so that I need not have to suffer so much.
JiGong: You being a woman, did not honor, safe-guard or respect your womanly virtues, by stooping so low as to become loose in morality and craved only for your own vanity; how can I ever intercede on your behalf? You never performed any good deeds; how can I help you?
Officer: JiGong, don’t let her bother you. When she was alive, she wanted enjoyment, pleasure and fun. Therefore, now she has to have her heart gouged out. She asked for it and so has to receive the penalty for her own sins. If you want the Saints to help you, you should have “dropped your butcher’s knife” when you were still living. If you had done so, your pleading to the Saints will surely be answered.
JiGong: Officer, what you had just said is very correct. Those who gamble heavily and those who have lewd hearts should quickly change their bad practices and forthwith lead a new life and quickly perform benevolent deeds and moral practices. If these gamblers and “loose” women can go to temples and promise in front of the Deities that they will print and distribute the Book “Diyu Youji” to advise human beings to do good deeds, then only will the Deities intercede on their behalf to lighten their sins. Time is running short; so Yang Sheng, prepare to return.
Yang Sheng: Yes, Sir. Thank you, Officer and Generals, for your kind assistance. We have to return.
Officer: Generals, line up and say goodbye to JiGong and Yang Sheng.
JiGong: Yang Sheng, quickly step on the lotus flower platform to return.
Yang Sheng: I’m safely seated, dear Master; we can start now….
JiGong: We have arrived at Sheng Xian Tang. Yang Sheng, get down. Soul, return to your body.
End of Journey No 35